The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced grants totaling $2 million to the nineteen winning projects in its 2009 Digital Media and Learning Competition, which included two categories: Innovation in Participatory Learning, open to individuals from the United States and ten other countries; and Young Innovators, open only to individuals in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 25.
Part of MacArthur's five-year, $50 million digital media and learning initiative, the global competition supports innovative projects that explore digital media's ability to help people learn and participate in civic life. The competition is funded by a MacArthur grant to the University of California, Irvine and Duke University and administered by HASTAC (the Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory), a virtual network of learning institutions.
Fifteen of the 2009 awardees are from the U.S., and one each is from Canada, India, Mexico, and South Africa. The winning projects, which received awards ranging from $9,000 to $211,000, include a $12 TV-computer, a video blogging site for young women in Mumbai, and a cutting-edge mobile phone application that lets school children perform collaborative science observations. Successful projects will promote learning and participation through games, mobile phone applications, virtual worlds, social networks, wikis, video blogs, and other media.
"This open competition makes an important contribution to the emerging field of digital media and learning by seeking out and embracing the freshest of ideas and the most innovative thinking," said MacArthur Foundation president Jonathan Fanton. "The competition demonstrates that pioneering work often takes place at the edges and sometimes between the most unlikely of collaborators. These projects are true exemplars of how digital media are transforming the way we think and learn, and perhaps even how we participate in our democracy."
For a list of all the 2009 award recipients, visit the MacArthur Foundation Web site.